KBA requests €120m govt loan in four-year plan

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Press manufacturing giant Koenig & Bauer is among the manufacturers looking to the German government for support during Covid, requesting a €120m loan to help implement its Performance 2024 plan.

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The press manufacturer says it wants the flexibly repayable loan to “strengthen the stability and strategic flexibility of the group”. It says it will supplement existing credit lines. The company is asking KFW Banking Group for the funding.

KFW is the 100 per cent German government-owned bank through which the government provides guarantees and loans. All government loans are through KFW Banking Group which reports to the German Finance Ministry. Lufthansa, for instance, recently got all its loan facility through KFW.

The Koenig & Bauer loan is set to be a key part of the company's new Performance 2024 efficiency programme. CEO Claus Bolza-Schünemann said, “In parallel to the corona crisis management, we are working intensively on the Performance 2024 efficiency programme, evaluating various scenarios. In addition, improvements in working capital and cash flow are at the top of the agenda, alongside the strategic focus on packaging printing and digital services."

Speaking at the company's 95th AGM this week Bolza-Schünemann said, “Our broad product portfolio with a significant share of revenue in system-relevant packaging printing, the robust, increasingly digital service business, and our sound balance sheet with a high equity ratio limit the risk potential. With the corona crisis management established in March, we are working to actively counter this extraordinary situation.”

Short-time working has been in place at Koenig & Bauer at different locations since 1 April due to capacity utilisation. Bolza-Schünemann said, “Under the currently uncertain general conditions, the impact on revenue and earnings in the 2020 financial year cannot yet be quantified.”

With a large majority, the shareholders confirmed the management and supervisory board's proposal to suspend the dividend payment for the financial year 2019, and to carry forward the retained profit generated by the holding company Koenig & Bauer AG to new account.

Koenig & Bauer group sales in the last financial year were flat at €1.22bn, with a net profit that fell by 40 per cent to €38.4m. Sheetfed press sales rose by 2.6 per cent to €632m, while order intake rose by 9 per cent.

The company has confirmed its participation in next year's drupa, now rescheduled for 20-28 April.

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